St. Joseph County, South Bend officials give update to local COVID-19 response

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox, St. Joseph County Commissioner President Andy Kostielney, and Mayor James Mueller gave an update to the local COVID-19 response on Friday.

There are 71 patients in area hospitals that are COVID-19 positive and 15 patients that are under investigation for COVID-19, according to Fox.

“This is the highest number of COVID patients and PUIs in the hospital at any point during the pandemic,” Fox said.

“October, with still a week to go, has been the deadliest month,” Fox said. “Forty-nine deaths in October.”

Fox said the deaths in October are largely attributed to the introduction of COVID-19 in area nursing homes.

“Given the widespread community transmission, we urge everyone to exercise caution with social gatherings,” Fox said.

Limit indoor gatherings to 10 people, Fox recommends.

“We’re very concerned with the weather turning and holidays coming up,” Mueller said. “Your chance of contracting the virus in our community is the highest it’s been all year.”

“We do believe that trick or treating if following proper protocols you can do that safely,” Mueller said.

Kostielney said that the county is anticipating a spike in COVID-19 cases when Notre Dame plays Clemson at home on November 7.

Jeff Rea, the county’s COVID-19 response coordinator, also spoke on Friday.

Employees have to wear face masks, hand sanitizer must be available and businesses must have a COVID-19 response plan, Rea said.

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